While cruising is an exceptionally safe way to travel, it’s important to exercise caution on a boat. “Better safe than sorry” and “hope for the best, plan for the worst,” may seem cliché, but they’re all too true aboard a ship. Here are some cruise safety tips every passenger should know.

Pay Attention During the Muster Drill

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While the muster drill is mandatory, it's all too easy to treat it like the safety talk on a flight and only half listen. You should pay attention, especially if you're a first-timer. It will be scheduled for your first day and will allow you to familiarize yourself with the boat’s emergency protocol. You can expect to hear safety information about the boat, learn how to don a life jacket and understand what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Memorize Your Exit Route

Cruise ships are mammoth and the halls can feel like a labyrinth. After the muster drill, memorize the way from your cabin to your appointed muster station. Your cabin will also have an emergency notice that maps out the main route, plus an alternate route. Take some time to study it the first day you’re aboard. This way, if an emergency does occur, you won’t panic and forget the way.

Drink Responsibly

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Loosening up with a couple of cocktails is certainly expected on a cruise ship, but one should always drink responsibly. Never drink more than you can handle and be sure to hydrate whenever you can. If you find that you have consumed too much alcohol, have someone accompany you back to your room, to ensure you get there safely.

Lock Up Your Valuables

Exercise caution with your valuables on board. A good rule of thumb is don’t bring anything you'd hate to lose. Priceless or sentimental jewelry should be left at home. That also goes for large amounts of cash — don’t bring more than you need. If you do bring things of value, make sure to keep them locked in your cabin’s safe at all times. The same goes for your passport and other important travel items, as well.

Use the Handrails (And Wear Boat Shoes)

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Ship handrails are there for a reason, so use them. Slipping and falling is a common cruise ship injury, and you don’t want to do anything to ruin your vacation. While you’re at it, wear sensible shoes when you’re walking around the boat, especially to the pool. Boat decks have a tendency to be wet and wearing slip-resistant boat shoes is a simple way to stay safe on board.

Be Careful on the Balcony

If you’re lucky enough to have a private balcony, it’s important to follow some steadfast rules. No matter how tempting, don’t sleep on your balcony overnight. Always keep the balcony door locked, especially when you leave your cabin. And never, ever sit on the balcony’s handrails.

Exercise Caution In Port

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Exercise as much caution off the boat, as on the boat. While exploring a port, bring enough money for the day’s purchases, and nothing more. To dissuade thieves and pickpockets, women should favor cross-body bags that zip or snap to close. Some people go as far as carrying an extra wallet with a few dollar bills and expired credit cards to hand over to a mugger, should you be confronted. Make sure to research the port ahead of time by reading reviews and familiarizing yourself with the city. Note the neighborhoods you need to avoid and always stay alert when exploring a new place.